2021 Little League World Series to be United States-only Tournament


Garrett Gess, Sports Writer

All across America and beyond, every baseball boy has the dream of playing in the Little League World Series. Held in South Williamsport, PA at Howard J. Lamade Stadium & Little League Volunteer Stadium, 8 teams across America and 8 teams in other parts of the world battle in a worldwide baseball tournament of 10-12 year-olds. The late-August tournament has gained national publicity with attendances in the hundreds of thousands and is frequently televised on ESPN & ABC. This year, the 2021 Little League World Series from August 19-29 will be a privilege that stays in United States lines because of COVID-19 concerns in other countries.

Other than the 2020 complete cancelation for similar reasons, this will be the first US-only LLWS tournament since 1975. That was when there were allegations of Taiwan teams using out-of-district players even when there was no evidence. Teams from Taiwan were dominant in that era as they won 15 out of 23 LLWS championships from 1969 through 1991. International teams often provide terrific teams to challenge the US winner in the championship. Since 1998, the LLWS championship was won by an even 11 International teams and 11 US teams. The 2021 championship road will end at being “United States Champions” rather than being “World Champions.” But the road is still very long as teams will have to win their local district, section, state, and then regional to reach the LLWS. But instead of winning their regional, teams will only have to place in the Top 2 in regionals to fill up the 16-team bracket of 8 regions across the United States.

There will also be new COVID-19 precautions for the 2021 LLWS:

– All players and coaches will undergo frequent COVID-19 testing

– Coaches and managers are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated as well as players if appropriate

– All on-site adults (excluding coaches/managers) will be required to provide proof of receiving the final dose of their vaccine

– Spectators will be family members and team-associated individuals only

– Teams will be limited in their off-field activities to mitigate the risk of exposure during the tournament

In a year of change for every Little Leauger, thousands of teams across the United States are looking to represent their region and make the trip to Coal Country in Northeastern PA to play baseball!